Hearings Set on CDBG Funds, Water Plant Plan

Residents can let Wheeling City Council know what they think of the city’s plan for about $1 million in federal Community Development Block Grant funding – including a proposed 89-percent funding cut for the Wheeling Human Rights Commission – during a public hearing at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.

City officials also will solicit public comments on the issuance of about $41 million in bonds for construction of a new water treatment plant in Warwood.

An ordinance authorizing the sale of those bonds, which will be repaid by proceeds of an impending 53.1-percent water rate increase, is up for a vote during council’s regular meeting that will immediately follow the two public hearings in council chambers at the City-County Building, 1500 Chapline St.

The city may have to amend the plan later based on an expected 8-percent cut to the city’s CDBG allocation, from $1.12 million to about $1.03 million.

The current budget sets aside $139,276 for public service agencies, which may only receive 15 percent of a city’s total allocation.

Under the plan, $7,000 would go to the Human Rights Commission, $50,026 to the police department for directed patrols in East Wheeling and on Wheeling Island; $33,000 to the city-owned Nelson Jordan Center; $30,000 to Wheeling Health Right; $10,000 to the Soup Kitchen of Greater Wheeling; $5,000 to the Greater Wheeling Homeless Coalition and $4,250 to the Seeing Hand Association.

The remaining $982,800 would go toward program administration, economic development and capital projects in low- to moderate-income areas, including $400,000 for replacement of the former Elks Playground in East Wheeling; $224,000 for program administration, including $100,000 for the city’s comprehensive plan; $188,000 toward repaying a Section 108 loan from the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development that was used to bring Lowe’s to South Wheeling; $100,000 for building demolition, $70,800 for street paving and sidewalk repair; and $12,000 for renovations to the Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department offices in the City-County Building.

In addition to voting on the bond ordinance for the water project, council also on Tuesday will hear first reading of an ordinance awarding the contract for construction of the new water plant to Shook Construction of Dayton, Ohio, which submitted the low bid at $30.55 million.

The new plant, which will replace Wheeling’s current 90-year-old facility, is expected to take at least two years to build.

Other items up for a vote Tuesday include:

– Laying of the municipal levy rate for the coming fiscal year, which will remain unchanged from the current year at 20.98 cents per $100 valuation for Class II property and 41.96 cents per $100 for Class IV property;

– Reprogramming $219,000 in CDBG funds from the 2011-12 fiscal year to pay for replacement of the Schenk Street Bridge in the Fulton area; and

– Abandonment of a portion of Lane 17 in Warwood at the request of Progressive Bank, which will demolish its existing branch there and build a new one in its place.

Prior to the public hearings and council meeting, the Finance Committee is also slated to meet at 5:10 p.m. in City Manager Robert Herron’s third-floor conference room.